Girl Zero by AA Dhand

I first met Amit Dhand last year at Swnawick Writers’ Summer School and was delighted to see him return in August to run a short course there. He also took part in an evening event with fellow crime writers, Simon Hall, Sophie Hannah and poet Alison Chisholm. Last year, I read, and reviewed on this site, his debut novel The Streets of Darkness. So I was looking forward to his second novel, Girl Zero.

The story starts with a most distressing scene and is relentless in its manipulation of the readers emotions. I do not like to give away spoilers, and have no intention of doing so here, suffice to say, Dhand’s hero, Harry Virdee, comes close to breaking point on several occasions. I must say that, although I enjoyed Streets of Darkness if anything, I enjoyed Girl Zero even more. It was a beautifully contructed novel with many satisfying twists as required by a satisfying thriller.

A.A. Dhand was raised in Bradford and spent his youth observing the city from behind the counter of a small convenience store. After qualifying as a pharmacist, he worked in London and travelled extensively before returning to Bradford to start his own business and begin writing. The history, diversity and darkness of the city have inspired his Harry Virdee novels.

Thae author continues to work as a fulltime pharmacist, in case his writing success is just a flash in the pan. I don’t think he needs to worry too much about that!

Val Penny


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